A mesothelioma diagnosis can be a devastating experience for you and your family. Learning to cope with the challenges ahead means not only dealing with the disease, but also preparing for the possibility that the disease resulted from exposure to asbestos. Litigation has been happening across the country regarding mesothelioma, so first, know this: You’re not alone.
Thousands of people have filed and won mesothelioma lawsuits. Some of the have been settled before trial. Others have gone to trial. While results and award amounts can never be predicted, your odds of victory rise substantially if you are represented by a highly experienced and skilled mesothelioma lawyer.
If you have not yet chosen an attorney, please continue reading to learn how to hire the best for your asbestos exposure case.
How to Choose a Top Mesothelioma Attorney
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is important that you work with an attorney who not only understands the laws but also has access to the resources you need, such as quality medical care and help with financial obligations that you cannot pay.
This is a monumentally important moment in your life and you need to have the best possible attorney in your corner. That is why we recommend that you ignore TV commercials, fancy offices, expensive advertising and sales pressure to sign on the dotted line. A great deal of research is required for you to hire the best mesothelioma attorney.
How to do it? You should first and foremost seek an attorney in mesothelioma who has an impressive track record of success. You want a lawyer who is really experienced in conducting research and cross examination of companies about how they used or sold products containing asbestos.
Also, your attorney should have a proven record of uncovering incriminating legal documents that many companies possess. These documents often may be memos that were sent internally that show the company knew about asbestos dangers and chose to ignore them.
Studying to determine the best mesothelioma attorney for your case requires a lot of time, effort and patience. It may be too much for you, given your medical situation. A trusted loved one may be the best choice to interview potential attorneys. You may not have the strength or endurance to do so, but in most cases, family members can step in and do a great job.
Attorney Interview Questions to Ask
This process should include pointed questions from you to the attorney, such as:
- How many mesothelioma cases have you settled or won at trial?
- What is the average length of time your cases take to pay a claim?
- How many of your cases go to trial vs. settle? Many mesothelioma patients want to avoid a long trial because they have mounting medical bills.
- How many years of experience do you have specifically in mesothelioma cases?
- Have you been recognized by any state or national organizations for your excellence in mesothelioma lawsuits?
- Have you had any grievances filed against you at the state or national level?
It is important to stress again that most mesothelioma patients do not want a year’s-long trial. Mesothelioma is usually terminal, and the five year survival rate is low. You probably want to get an award from a settlement as opposed to a trial.
Thus it is a wise idea to search for an experienced mesothelioma attorney who is very skilled in negotiating the maximum settlement in serious personal injury cases, particularly in ones involving asbestos exposure.
The attorney that is working on your case specifically should be very experienced in mesothelioma cases, too. A common strategy by large legal firms is to advertise The Big Name at the law firm all over TV and the Internet. But the lawyer handling your case is much less experienced.
Your life is on the line. Don’t you want the most experienced and skilled attorney handling your file? Or are you ok with a junior attorney handling your case? Most people want the best attorney representing them, especially in a case with serious health consequences and millions of dollars on the line.
Other Questions to Ask
The best mesothelioma lawyers can help you navigate the maze of medical bills and insurance forms while you are awaiting a settlement or award and can help you find answers to difficult questions that are vexing you:
- How will I continue to support my family?
- Who is responsible for my illness?
- How will I ever afford these costly medical bills?
- Will I ever work again?
- How can I meet my other financial responsibilities, such as paying my mortgage?
- Will I be able to afford in-home care?
- What will happen to my family after I am gone?
Experienced attorneys in these cases have extensive resources to help you with all of these questions and ongoing personal and legal matters. It is important to make the right legal choice.
This is an emotional time, and we believe that you and your loved ones should spend as much time together as possible. Let us focus on the medical bills and other financial responsibilities while you focus on getting care for your cancer.
After you have made a possible choice for your mesothelioma attorney, you should prepare carefully for the first meeting. Or, your loved one may handle it for you.
How to Prepare for a Consultation
When you are planning to meet with a knowledgeable asbestos lawyer for the first time, it is important to be prepared with the following information:
- When you were diagnosed
- What symptoms you are dealing with
- List of medical procedures/treatments you have received
- History of asbestos exposure
- If you are a veteran, when did you serve, and were you exposed to asbestos during service?
- If you believe your asbestos exposure is occupational, list where you worked and what dates.
- All of the companies that may have exposed you to asbestos, even ones where you worked 50 years ago.
You also should be prepared to tell your attorney what you want from the case. It is very helpful to your chances for the lawyer to know what you want out of the case up front. Do you think you want to settle for faster money, or potentially go for more at trial? Having a very good grasp of your diagnosis and prognosis is critical to understand how you want to approach the case.
If you are unsure about how you were exposed, make a list of where you worked, lived, and enjoyed social activities. The best asbestos lawyers are skilled and will conduct a thorough investigation and will work with top experts to determine how and when you were exposed.
The source of exposure will be important to determining who is liable; sometimes, there may be more than one person/company that can be named as defendants in your case.
When you go to this first meeting, you should have a large file of documents with you. The strength of your case almost always comes down to the number of relevant documents that you and your attorney can produce that prove negligence by a former employer.
Some of the documents that you may want to have in your file include:
- Employment agreements, leases
- Financial documents showing your losses since the diagnosis
- All copies of medical bills
- Any correspondence you have had with the companies involved
- Witness information
The last item to carefully discuss is how the firm is compensated. You should know exactly how attorney fees and expenses will be handled. A mesothelioma claim can take months even in the best circumstances. There will be thousands in ongoing costs to handle discovery and possibly be going to trial. Who is going to handle those costs?
In many cases, the attorney will pay for the ongoing legal costs, and these are eventually reimbursed at settlement or verdict. This arrangement is handled by a contingency arrangement. The attorney will receive a typical ⅓ or so of any potential verdict or award. But this amount can vary and you need to verify how the attorney is paid.
It also is recommended that you talk with the attorney at length and note how well he or she communicates. This is a very important case for your life and future. It is critical that the attorney be an effective communicator both verbally and in writing.
After evaluating the facts, your lawyer will discuss your options and will help you make the right decision on what is best for you and your family.
Is Asbestos Litigation Really an Option?
Yes. You should contact a mesothelioma law firm if you or someone you love is diagnosed. In most cases, people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos decades ago, most often in the workplace. Our mesothelioma attorneys will work with you to determine when and where you were exposed and will make sure that you are compensated for your suffering.
It is very sad that only a fraction of those who have been exposed to asbestos from their work for an employer never file a lawsuit. Many of these companies have millions of dollars set aside in trusts to pay out asbestos cancer claims. If you have been exposed due to their negligence, it is your right to obtain the justice you deserve, regardless of your background, gender or education.
Our mesothelioma attorneys represent individuals from all walks of life. We represent Army, Air Force, Marine, Navy, and Coast Guard veterans and their family members who develop mesothelioma years after service. We also represent workers such as electricians, construction workers, boilermakers, sheet metal workers, mechanics, and others who were exposed to high levels of asbestos while on the job.
We have brought claims against large companies and are not afraid to stand up to any corporation, no matter the size. It is believed that companies knew of the dangers of asbestos as far back as the 1930s but failed to protect the millions of workers and individuals who were being exposed in order to protect their bottom lines. As a result, countless people have suffered.
Many companies are well aware of just how bad they often look before a jury. Few Americans look favorably on a large corporation risking the health and safety of its workers for the sake of the bottom line and shareholders.
Companies understand that fighting a person in court who suffers from a deadly illness the company may have had a role in causing is a serious PR problem. A good attorney can put extensive pressure on the company to offer a fair settlement so you can get the care you need.
Or, that attorney can put his extensive mesothelioma litigation experience to work at trial and get you the largest possible jury award.
Given the importance of this matter, you should be well prepared for your first consultation once you have chosen your attorney.